It is simply uncanny what animals can do to adapt to new realities. Many species are masters of disguise, the polar bear and the arctic fox is a great example. Both of these animals have adapted to blend into their surroundings as a response to dangerous predators.
Some animals have more to worry about than being hunted out by natural predators. They are also hunted by humans, like elephants in Africa. These massive mammals are adapting too.
Elephants are hunted and killed for their ivory, with poachers often shooting at elephants from helicopters or small planes. The animals have very little chance of defending themselves or escaping.
Tusks from these creatures is said by some to have “restorative” or healing powers. In China, Ivory can be worth more than gold. Ground and ingested, it is used not only as a cure for numerous diseases, but also as a way of increasing virility, strength, and fertility.
There is no scientific basis for this belief, but elephant tusks are still being traded for significant amounts of money in many parts of Africa and Asia.
But “Mother Nature” may be fighting back with a weapon of her own — evolution. National Geographic recently published a piece that indicated elephants are being born with tusks. Scientists in Mozambique are now racing to get to grips with the genetics of elephants born without tusks, as well as the outcome of the trait.
Previously, between 2% and 4% of all the female elephants in Mozambique had no tusks but that figure has now soared to almost a third of the female elephant population.
Elephant behavior expert and National Geographic Explorer, Joyce Poole, explained that poaching has a clear influence on elephants. Hunting has given elephants that didn’t grow tusks a biological advantage in Gorongosa, as Poole explained. Poachers focus on elephants with tusks and spare those without.